I currently give lectures on pressing social issues, such as the growing demand for food assistance, the increasing number of heavily indebted people, and the growing inaccessibility to support or shelter for people who are old and dependent. I approach these topics from a historical perspective, which contributes to an understanding of the structural nature of the problem, while at the same time providing guidelines for possible solutions.
I also lecture on the philosophical and historical backgrounds of the modern concept of civil society as sharing and compassionate. The Social Support Act is a breakaway from the welfare state that for several decades was the norm and aspiration. Behind its nice façade lies a (supposed, but insufficiently analysed) need for sharp cuts in social expenditure. How does this fundamental policy change fit in with Dutch history? Will our current society be able to cope with the tasks that the government now leaves to private initiatives? And how much freedom to operate are the state and municipalities actually willing to give to bottom-up initiatives?
In 2015 I published my first essay on this topic. In translation it would be called: ‘Fact and fiction in the participation debate: Civic strength in past and present’. This article has been published in: Govert Buijs and Marcel ten Hooven (eds.), Nuchtere betogen over religie. Waarheid en verdichting over de publieke rol van de godsdiensten, Damon Publishers, pp. 281-300.
My English publications are:
- The Summary of my Thesis
- two papers I presented at the EAUH (European Association for Urban History) 2010 in Ghent (Belgium):
- Neigbourliness in Utrecht through the Ages
- Graves and Memorials as an Expression of Status, the Case of Utrecht (1300-1600)
- ‘Commemoration in a Utrecht Collegiate Church: Burial and Memorial Culture in St. Peter’s 1054-1784’: in: Truus van Bueren[ed.], Care for the Here and Hereafter, Turnhout, 2005, p. 191-219.
- ‘Utrecht at a Crossroads: Religious Affiliations in a Sixteenth-century Netherlandish City’, in: Crown and Mitre, Religion and Society in Northern Europe since the Reformation, eds. W.M. Jacob and Nigel Yates, Woodbridge, 1993, p. 1-20.